Rhino-poaching is not part of Mozambican culture, says Mozambique Consul to Limpopo and Mpumalanga, Arthur Verissimo.
Verissimo was responding to concerns from the Kruger National Park that Mozambique was not seriously addressing the involvement of its own citizens in the poaching crisis that has crippled the national park.
“People cross the border all the time. These poachers are committing a crime (despite the fact that) we have security measures at the border.... It is not in our culture to poach rhino," Verissmo told African Eye News Service on Friday.
He admitted that some of the poachers come from Mozambique and said that some were even killed in the park.
He also conceded that there is no poaching in Mozambique "because people poach rhino in the Kruger National Park".
Kruger officials raised their concerns during a media tour in the park this past week.
They said that in order for the escalating rhino crisis in South Africa to be reversed, a multitude of problems in Mozambique need to be addressed.
“The root cause of poaching is high demand from Asia, but also at the core of the problem lie numerous issues in Mozambique,” said retired army Major General Johan Jooste, who is now the Kruger’s anti-poaching co-ordinator.
According to Jooste, the poaching crisis revolves around economic problems, an “unlimited recruitment” of foot soldiers and lawlessness which makes the country a safe haven for poachers.
Andrew Desmet, section ranger in the Shilowa region of the park, a known hotspot for infiltrations from Mozambique, said that Mozambican authorities did not have the same harsh attitude towards rhino poaching as South Africa did.
“There is a lot of corruption involved, even at the highest levels. In Mozambique, rangers themselves are often the people who kill rhino,” said Desmet. More....